Houston Rockets still being slept on going into next season

Houston Rockets Clint Capela P.J. Tucker James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Clint Capela P.J. Tucker James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Now that the NBA off-season is essentially over, the predictions for next year are flowing in. I’m not sure I agree with the Vegas odds of how many games the Houston Rockets will win.

It’s become fairly routine to predict win projections once the off-season has finished, despite it being far too early to predict. It’s also become amusing to view the predictions of how many games the Vegas odds-makers say your favorite team will win. Based on the Caesar’s Palace Sportsbook, the Houston Rockets will only win 52 games next season. That seems like an incredibly low number and it shows me the Rockets are still being slept on going into next season.

To put that in perspective, the Rockets have won more games than this in 5 of the last 6 seasons. Even last season when the Rockets got off to an 11-14 start, they STILL finished with 53 wins. So by these predictions, the Rockets will be worse next year than this past season, which I disagree with 100%.

Why they’ll be better

For starters, I would be quite surprised if the Rockets get off to such a slow start again. I’m expecting the season to start off more like the first year Chris Paul got to Houston, which the Rockets went 21-4 in their first 25 games. If you recall, there were questions on whether CP3 and Harden would work that year, much like many of the basketball pundits are now questioning with a Russell Westbrook/James Harden pairing. The Rockets got right out of the gate that season, similar to what I’m expecting to happen next year.

But the more interesting part is the prediction of winning less games than this past season, because that implies that the team will be worse. Based on the off-season, what could make you predict the Rockets will be worse? During free agency, they kept their own players in Danuel House, Gerald Green and Austin Rivers while also adding Tyson Chandler. They also traded an aging Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook who will undoubtedly bring more to the table than Chris Paul was going to bring this season. So I’m also not sure what the win projection is based on.

But not only that, there’s also the injury angle. You can never predict injuries, but I’d be quite shocked if the injury bug hits the Rockets like it did last year. Eric Gordon missed 14 games to injury, Clint Capela missed 15 games due to injury and Chris Paul missed a total of 24 games (2 to suspension). And again,despite this conundrum of injuries, the Rockets still won more games than they are predicted to win next season.

The best argument could be that the Rockets stayed pat and stayed the same. But even if you go with that narrative, the Rockets still would be picked to win more than 52 games. Personally I’m expecting between 55-59 wins next season because I believe they got better and will also have chemistry that many of the other Western Conference teams ranked above them do not have.

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So maybe it’s me but I chalk the win projection to the infamous hate and negativity the Houston Rockets always are subject to nationally. There is no valid explanation for why the Rockets will go backwards and win less games than they did last season.